Iron ore rebounds as China mills churn out steel at record pace

Iron ore futures climbed back above $200 a ton as soaring steel production in China showed there’s no sign of the industry cooling despite government attempts to rein in output from last year’s record of over one billion tons, as reported by Reuters.

Crude steel output in April rose to 97.9 million tons to hit monthly and daily run rate records. The robust pace of production also lifted the year-to-date tally to 375 million tons, a 16% jump compared to same period last year. This comes as iron ore stockpiles at Chinese ports declined for the third week, indicating strength in demand.

Officials in China have restated their commitment to control pollution in its vast steel industry, with fresh output restrictions ordered in the mill hub of Tangshan and nationwide inspections planned on capacity cuts. At the same time, a global steel boom has been helping drive iron ore inventories lower and pushing prices higher.

“As China’s steel production still continues to expand, its steel margins remain elevated and seaborne iron ore supply remains constrained, we think that the iron ore price can stay around the current level through the second quarter, but is likely to remain highly volatile,” according to a note by analysts at Morgan Stanley.